Thursday, March 25, 2010

Costumes and Uniforms

Yesterday we managed to get all major projects in the Dockyard to a stopping point, so we could clean up and prepare for the varnish party this weekend. Tonight the weapon of choice is the broom and the mighty mighty shop vacs. Anyone who is planning on coming out, bring sanders - palm, random-orbital, belt, etc. Anything you can conveniently bring. We have four in the 'yard, but we will need more.


So last night I was brought into a discussion between the PR Director, Commissioner of Supply and four Trustees. If you're not sure who these people are, read back a few days, I explained it (told you I was getting lazy, online at least). The conversation had to do with the new events coming up this year - where 2 out of 3 currently set up have been determined as "no costume" events. The hope is to work our programming outside the exclusive realm of reenacting, to a place where reenactors, recreational boaters and the active duty communities meet. To that end, there were some terse words exchanged relating to historical dress, relating to a decision last month in the BoD that historical replica clothing in organizational property were to be referred to as "costumes".

Most people who are not part of the reenacting hobby would describe it as one in which "people get together, put on historical costumes, and hold events" (quoting my friend Jeff, a non-reenactor). That's pretty accurate. Reenactors see it differently, using the words "uniform", and "muster". Some take it pretty seriously - in fact, I know a guy who was buried in his "uniform" and put his reenactor unit and rank on his tombstone. Ummmm.

Look, I know I am going to piss people off with this, but reenacting is a hobby. We do this because we like to; it's how we choose to spend our spare time. When you start taking it too seriously, you can cross boundaries - like mixing up who you ARE and who you are PRETENDING to be. A number of people are confused why NHS is planning on crossing Chesapeake Bay, without commemorating some event or another. The answer is because we can. In shorts and t-shirts we're going to be ourselves and use some antiquated technology to get across a rather broad (16 nm) stretch of water. In the process, hopefully we can help the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Virginia State Parks with their respective goals. At the very least, it'll be an experience- one that we don't have to credit to anyone else.

So as far as I am concerned, they are costumes. Thank you, gentlemen of the board - good call.

Dismount - SOAP BOX!



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